The cultural and educational activities bring visibility to Indigenous students on campus.
The Texas Tech University Student Intersectional Leadership Council, part of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, has partnered with the Raiderland Native American Student Association to host five events in November in observance of Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month. The cultural and educational activities focus on the theme of visibility and are designed to bring awareness to the presence of Indigenous students on campus.
All events are free and open to the public. The division has partnered with the Kwek Society, a nonprofit organization that provides donations of feminine hygiene products to young women on rural reservations, and attendees can donate products for the organization at the events.
The monthlong celebration begins at 6 p.m. tonight (Nov. 7) with the first event, "Storytelling with Juanita and Harry," in the Croslin Room South of the University Library. Juanita Pahdopony and Harry Mithlo of the Comanche Nation will lead a retelling of Comanche stories and share their personal experiences as artists, performers and educators.
The second event, "Native Identity Panel," will be held from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 13) in the Lanier Auditorium at the Texas Tech School of Law. The discussion will feature several panelists:
- Alex Pearl, professor and director of the Center for Water and Law Policy
- Vickie Sutton, professor, associate dean for digital learning and graduate education and director of the Center for Biodefense, Law and Public Policy
- Rossy Lima, professor and director of the Spanish Heritage Language Program
- Tesia Zientek, education director at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation
The discussion will focus on how each panelist approaches their indigeneity, and topics will vary and include Indigenous femininity, environmental and American Indian law, language revitalization and the significance of sovereignty. The panelists also will provide insight into the state of Indigenous student education, the state of tribes' legal pursuits of sovereignty and the ways in which Native American identity is understood in the United States.
On Nov. 19, "Cooking with Rocky" will feature local Indigenous chef Rocky Reyna, who will highlight the culinary diversity of West Texas. Reyna will offer samples from the menu of her Lubbock restaurant, Native Veda, which she designed to be a reflection of her belief in the healing power of food. The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. in the Croslin Room South of the library, and Reyna will explain the inspiration behind each dish.
The fourth event for the month is a rock concert featuring queer, Indigenous female artist Black Belt Eagle Scout, held from 6-11 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Red Raider Ball Room and Red Raider Lounge of the Student Union Building (SUB). The concert and performance are designed to bring awareness to the missing and murdered Indigenous women crisis, to celebrate the efforts made by Indigenous students at Texas Tech and elsewhere who remain strong advocates for its resolution and to bring awareness to the severity of the crisis among Indigenous people.
The events will conclude with a film screening from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 22 in the Escondido Theatre in the SUB. "More Than a Word" explores Native American-based mascots and the impact these names have in society on attitudes, issues and policies.
For more information about the events, visit the Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month website.